NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A South Florida mother and son team have been arrested, along with a third man, in connection with a rash of vehicle burglaries including one at a local cemetery.
Those arrested and charged are Joy Greene, 44, her son Darin Greene, 22, and accomplice Dontrel Gosha, 23, according to North Miami Beach Police.
The first crime Joy Greene is connected to, took place on February 19th.
Doris Saint-Louis was paying her respects to a deceased relative at a grave site in Southern Memorial Gardens Cemetery at 15100 NE 18th Avenue when someone stole her purse from inside her car. Soon after the theft, someone forged bank checks that were inside her purse.
“It hurt because I’m grieving,” she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “I’m already in mourning and for that to happen is like everything was going downhill. I didn’t think they’d do that at a cemetery.
“When I came to the car I noticed that the door was like this and I knew the car was closed so I figured that someone had been there,” said Saint-Louis, who said she had left the passenger side door of her unlocked. “I was just 20 feet away and I never thought something like this would happen.”
“It’s hurting,” she said. “There were a lot of sentimental things in there. A lot of pictures of my son and his father that I’ll never get back again so it really hurts that it happened to me.”
“They stole checks,” she said. “I had my work keys in there. I had everything in there. A had ID. I was afraid they’d follow me to my house or something.”
Those checks were later found in the possession of Joy Greene, of Opa-Locka when she was taken into custody at the scene of an attempted vehicle burglary in North Miami Beach on May 8th, according to police.
Police said Greene was in a car with her son Darin and Dontrel Gosha when they tried to steal a purse from a woman’s car outside the Aventura Learning Center, located at 2320 NE 171st Street.
All three were charged with taking part in the vehicle burglary attempt. Joy Greene was also charged with dealing in stolen property stemming from the cemetery theft and forging of the checks. Darin Greene also faces an additional charge of possession of a burglary tool.
A police report indicates that Joy Greene admitted to being in possession of two of Saint-Louis checks and she admitted to forging one of them.
“I’m just happy that they caught somebody and that somebody’s going to be charged,” said Saint-Louis. “I was grieving. I didn’t think that someone was going to break into my car.”
“The concerns are that this is becoming an epidemic nationwide. South Florida is being inundated with vehicle burglaries. These people are targeting victims that are not really paying attention to what is going on,” said North Miami Beach Police spokesman Thomas Carney.
The investigation also revealed Joy Greene, has a drug addiction and the money from the vehicle burglaries was used in part to support her drug habit. Greene also had outstanding warrants for other crimes in various fake names.
Carney described the cemetery theft as pathetic.
“It’s emotional enough that you are going to a relative’s gravesite and you might not be thinking clearly and you may not want to carry all that stuff with you and the criminal knows that, they’re going to follow you in,” said Carney. “You just have to be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to what’s going on, lock your car and don’t leave anything visible in your car. If you have to, put it in a trunk temporarily.”
The North Miami Beach Police Department wants to remind people about their “Park Smart” program. They’ve placed stickers on local gas station pumps and other areas targeted by thieves that remind and warn drivers not to leave any personal belongings inside their vehicles.